About Huda Al Lawati
Huda Al Lawati’s career has spanned 16 years in strategy, investment and portfolio management across emerging market private equity and corporates. As Chief Investment Officer for Savola Group, a strategic investment holding group comprising one of the largest food and retail businesses in the MENA region ($5.5 billion market cap), her role encompasses strategy, portfolio management, M&A and investor relations functions. Prior to being Chief Investment Officer at Savola, Huda was a Partner and Chief Investment Officer for MENA at the Abraaj Group, as well as a member of the Global Investment Committee. Her experience has spanned several sectors from both investment and operations gaining including F&B, retail, FMCG, insurance, ecommerce, ride sharing, hospitality, healthcare, education, temporary power, and oil and gas. She started her career in 2002 with Schlumberger in Oman. She serves on the board of directors of Panda Retail Company, Herfy and Savola Foods Company, as well as on the board of directors the Young Arab Leaders. She is also a co-founder of a Dubai-based social startup, Bilbareed. Al Lawati holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Economics (Honors) from Brown University.
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In the GCC, the contribution of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to the overall gross domestic product (GDP) remains small, and the pace of innovation, while accelerating, is still in need of major improvement.